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I never dreamed I would be a senior after 3.5 years


Ádám Pisky-Nagy worked in development policy for 5 years, before graduating from Green Fox Full-stack programmer course in 2019. After the placement, he quickly moved up the ranks and now works as a senior developer. What does it take to become a senior in the programming profession, and what can a career change bring in terms of salary? Get to know Ádám's story!

What did you do before Green Fox and why did you change?

I graduated as a geographer at ELTE's Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, specializing in Urban and Territorial Development, and then worked in development policy for about 5 years. During that time I had many disappointments: issues were decided on political rather than professional grounds, and although I became project manager in 5 years, I was disturbed by the limited career opportunities. I wanted a career change anyway, I just needed to find a new direction, which wasn't easy. I had heard about bootcamps before, but I didn't think programming was for me because I thought I should be very good at math, and it didn't seem very exciting. But the possibility was still there, so I participated at a Green Fox Info Night, which finally made me want to apply. I decided that if I got accepted to the course, I would do it. I was accepted and after the second week I knew it was for me. I quickly realized that programming is a very creative activity that doesn't necessarily require a math genius, but you do need a sense of logic.

How was your course experience?

In 2019, I started Green Fox's on-campus, super-intensive Full-Stack course. I chose the income-share postpaid package because I didn't really have any savings. In that sense, this commitment was a bold decision, since I didn't know how well the career change would work for me. One of the biggest benefits of the course for me was that I was given a complete toolkit to continuously improve myself in the future, even on my own. The mentors didn’t give us the solution to the problems, but practically put the spade into our hands and we had to dig. In addition, I consider it useful that I attended an English-speaking class, because English is the main language of the programming profession. It is also positive that I made new friends during the course. During the 4.5 months, a group of 6-7 people came together, with whom I’m still in active contact, and this adds a lot to my life.

How long did it take you to find a job and how was this period? 

After the course, I joined Green Fox's internal development community, the Húli Community, where we did projects on a non-profit basis. I worked here for 1.5 months, basically while I was looking for a job. It came in handy that I could mention this experience at job interviews. I participated in a total of 6-7 interviews, with more or less success. It happened that I was rejected at the last round, but other times I rejected an offer because I didn't see any perspective in it. It was important for me to have the prospect of a development path, for which I would receive the necessary support from the company, for example in the form of professional training. Interestingly, I got an offer from the company where, in my opinion, the interview went the worst for me. This is EPAM, where I have been working for 3.5 years now. 

What stages have you been through since you got the job?

At EPAM, we carry out different IT projects for various clients. My last project was a greenfield project, meaning we built a software architecture from scratch, and I could learn a lot from it. I came to the company with the mindset that I wanted to develop, and my colleagues were absolutely supportive, and I also took on a lot of extra responsibility. After a while I became a team lead deputy and recently a senior developer. Now I'm taking trainings and going on project interviews to find the next project to join.

What did you need to become a senior developer?

It requires a certain professional experience, which usually means 5 years, but of course this isn’t set in stone, as it turned out differently in my case. In addition, I had to take a senior exam in front of an international committee, which isn’t just a formality, but a difficult exam that not everyone can pass the first time. In this exam, besides technical knowledge, soft skills are also assessed, and a more serious introductory presentation must be given, including strengths and future plans. This clearly shows that, as a senior programmer, in addition to technical skills, it is important to have communication and leadership competences, as well as the ability to present yourself.

What do you think is the reason why you became a senior so quickly?

I was very motivated from the beginning, I invested a lot of time and energy to improve myself. The company appreciated my efforts, which was a refreshing feeling after what I had experienced in my previous profession. In addition, of course, you need luck. It helped a lot that I worked on a good project and that I was surrounded by a supportive environment. There were stressful periods, it happened that I overcommitted myself, but my colleagues were helpful. If they noticed that I worked overtime every day for a week, they helped me out with my responsibilities. My experience is that if someone communicates well, they usually help you, push you forward, and try to keep you at the company.

How well did the course meet your expectations in terms of salary?

My salary is higher than in my previous profession, although the difference wasn’t significant at first. Furthermore, the first six months were tight due to post-financing, but that's what I calculated. After I paid back the course fee, the situation became easier, and my salary also increased. And I never dreamed I would become a senior after 3.5 years. My salary now is several times what it was before I changed careers, and I feel a greater level of respect too. So, overall, the career change worked for me.

What are your career plans for the future?

I'm happy in my current job and at the company, so I'm not planning to change. My next goal is a higher lead engineer position, and then I would aim for a team lead role, which involves less coding, but I could use my project management skills again. I would also like to work abroad, and fortunately there are opportunities within the company. I would mostly go to Switzerland, which is one of the best paying countries in the world in the field of programming. I’m attracted by the beautiful landscapes of the country, the multicultural environment, as well as the stable economic and political background, and on top of that Switzerland is not so far from Hungary. So I have plenty of plans for the future.

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